County sees rattlesnake calls triple over last year

County sees rattlesnake calls triple over last year
The county’s Department of Animal Services is receiving triple the amount of calls this year for rattlesnake removals than they did during the same time last year. Photo courtesy of the County of San Diego

REGION — Calls into the county’s DAS (Department of Animal Services), for rattlesnake removals have more than tripled this year when compared to the same time frame from last year.

As of March 14, DAS had received 82 calls, explained DAS Deputy Director Dan DeSousa.

The majority of the calls have been coming from the more inland areas of North County, he added. Eleven of the calls came from the 92129 zip code, the Rancho Penasquitos area.

There were three calls that came from the 92009 area of Carlsbad, DeSousa said.

Despite the numbers, DeSousa said rattlesnakes can be found all the way to the water’s edge.

“It’s just that area’s been developed a lot more than some of these other areas,” DeSousa said.

According to DAS Director Dawn Danielson, though spring is typically the time of year rattlesnakes emerge from hibernation, the snakes are being drawn out a little earlier this year because of the mild winter and the several heat spells experienced in the county.

During the late afternoon is when most of the snakes will come out to do hunting, just before it gets dark, DeSousa explained. “They’ve probably been in the shade during the hot part of the day. Early morning is when they’re going to come out and sun themselves,” he added.

Animal Services is recommending homeowners to clear away old wood piles and garbage heaps, to avoid any hiding opportunities for the rattlesnakes.

DAS provides services to Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach and unincorporated areas. If you see a rattlesnake, they ask that you keep an eye on it from a safe distance and call (619) 236-2341. The county also offers several tips to help avoid dangerous situations with snakes.

When DAS arrives and captures the snake, they try not to take it farther than a mile away from where they were found, explained DeSousa.

The reason for that, he added, was because if they were taken more than a mile from their home range, you’re basically condemning them to death.

The snakes wouldn’t know where the food sources or den sources are.

 

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